Field Trip to the Museum of Science and Industry

If you’re looking for an excuse to visit the Museum of Science and Industry again, I’ve got one for you: the reinvented permanent health exhibit, “You!” and “The White House: A Look Inside,” which is running through mid-February 2010.


It was New Year’s Eve, and since the days of party hopping are in the rear-view mirror–at least until the kids are out of the house–we were looking for a day trip that would excite the kids and didn’t involve another 10-hour PS3 marathon. (Note to self: Leave that off my Mother of the Year application.)

My husband hopped online to the Museum of Science and Industry’s web site and purchased tickets to “The White House: A Look Inside,” and off we went–along with everyone else that thought New Year’s Eve would be a fantastic time to visit the museum. Yep, it was busy. Crowds usually don’t bother me, especially at a museum as big as MSI, but it’s harder to get up close and personal with the exhibits and their interactivity.

Doll house enthusiasts and history buffs should enjoy the White House exhibit. It’s very informative and the attention to detail is pretty spectacular. The traveling exhibit’s crown jewel is a 60-foot by 13-foot replica of the White House.

The kids loved peeking into all the rooms looking for pictures of the Obamas. I liked the larger china display and official invitations earlier in the exhibit (including a very cute Obama Halloween party invitation, but no State Dinner invite for Tareq and Michaele Salahi–sorry, guys!).

The exhibit also included miniature versions of Oval Offices from previous administrations. Another bonus to this exhibit? You’re not funneled into an overcrowded, overpriced gift shop at the end. (I’m looking at you, Harry Potter.)

More fun, I think, was the “You!” exhibit–it’s going to be a must-see every time we go now, right along with the chick hatchery. If you grew up going to the museum as I did, you’ll agree that exhibit was long overdue for a makeover, and MSI hit the nail on the head.

The 15,000-square-foot exhibit is heavy on the interactivity, which is great for kids that aren’t so focused on reading information printed on a wall. (My kids? “The heart is a….blah blah fishcakes….Oh! Look! A light wall!”)

Our favorites included:

  • The interactive heart wall that beats in time with your heart
  • The medical science section where you can see your own veins and operate a prosthetic arm
  • The plastinated bodies (a la Body Worlds),
  • And the stress and relaxation portion’s “Mindball” game that involves using your relaxed brain waves to move a small ball back and forth with a partner. I kicked my daughter’s butt, even with the educator/presenter yelling “Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom! Are we there yet? Mom! Mom!” in my ear.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg–there’s so much more we didn’t have time to explore. It’s definitely more well-rounded than the last exhibit, up to date, and I appreciate the attention to mind-body connections and vitality, which are often left out of health exhibits. It was about a six-hour visit, including lunch at the food court (5 people, $31, not bad!) and an Omnimax movie.

My advice? Get there early and hit “You!” first –the chicks can wait.

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